Skip to main content

Study information

Provoking Thoughts - French Literature and Philosophy from the Renaissance to the 20th Century

Module titleProvoking Thoughts - French Literature and Philosophy from the Renaissance to the 20th Century
Module codeMLF2056
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Hugh Roberts (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Philosophy is a key part of French culture and intellectual history. French writers through the centuries have used literary modes of expression to explore philosophical issues, including questions about good and evil, life and death, the existence of God, science, and our place in the universe. In this module you'll explore the interplay between philosophy and literature in a broad range of French texts.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Analyse texts making appropriate use of philosophical concepts where necessary; situate texts within their socio-historical and intellectual contexts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 2. With some guidance from the course tutor(s), evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered
  • 3. Mount a detailed argument in the appropriate register of English or French, mustering a range of textual or other evidence in its support
  • 4. Understand and use, in written and oral contexts, a range of critical and philosophical terms
  • 5. Access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the course tutor(s), and, to a limited extent, discover other useful materials independently
  • 6. Analyse selected TL texts, relating them to significant elements in their cultural/historical/generic context
  • 7. Use recommended reference works to compile a bibliography, within given parameters (chronological, thematic, etc.) on a specified topic

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Undertake defined learning activities with a measure of autonomy, asking for guidance where necessary
  • 9. Adopt a critical approach to the selection and organisation of material in order to produce, to a deadline, a written or oral argument
  • 10. Present a cogent and sustained argument orally/in writing, in English, on a topic chosen from a range of options provided, following broad guidelines but selecting and adapting them as required
  • 11. Using course material provided, research, plan and write an essay on a chosen aspect of the subject, to a specified length and deadline

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • 1 lecture to introduce the module and each of the four main texts studied
  • 10 seminars: one introductory, 2 on each of the main texts, and 1 further seminar for feedback/exam preparation (if applicable)

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching55 x 1-hour lectures
cheduled Learning and Teaching1010 x 1-hour seminars
cheduled Learning and Teaching1Tutorial
Guided Independent Study134Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mini essay/commentary500 words1-11Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1002500 word essay1-11Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay Essay1-11Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Montaigne, Essais [selected Essais to be available via ELE]
  • Cyrano de Bergerac, Les Etats et empires de la lune [Folio]
  • Diderot, Le Neveu de Rameau [GF-Flammarion]
  • Sartre, La Nausée [Folio]

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

MLF1001 or MLF1052 or equivalent

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date